The prevalence of psychological problems is high in prisons. Many prisoners have unmet needs for appropriate treatments. Although previous studies have suggested music therapy to be a successful treatment modality for prisoners, more rigorous evidence is needed. This parallel randomised controlled study aims to investigate the effectiveness of group music therapy to reduce anxiety and depression, and raise self-esteem in prisoners. One hundred and ninety two inmates from a Chinese prison will be allocated to two groups through randomisation. The experimental group will participate in biweekly group music therapy for 10 weeks (20 sessions) while the control group will be placed on a waitlist. Anxiety, depression and self-esteem will be measured by self-report scales three times: before, at the middle, and at the end of the intervention. Logs by the participants and their daily routine behaviour records by will be utilized as additional information. This study will increase the knowledge of the effectiveness of group music therapy for offenders. Generalisability to clinical practice will be ensured by the flexibility of the intervention and a practical clinical guideline. We hope the findings will be able to support the further development of music therapy in correctional service.
Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 2014, Vol 23, Issue 3, p. 224-241
group music therapy; prisoners; anxiety; depression; self-esteem